Rapper T.I. has gone under serious fire after revealing that he goes with his 18-year-old daughter Devjah to her annual gynecologist check-up to make sure her hymen is still intact. Not only is this absolutely horrifying but it’s problematic on a number of levels.
In a recent podcast interview that aired Tuesday with Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham on Ladies Like Us, T.I. got real about a few things — including his “parenting style.” Things quickly took a turn for the worse after being asked whether or not he’s had the “sex talk” with his daughters. T.I. admitted to having the conversation with his eldest daughter Deyjah Harris, who is 18 and in her first year of college.
“Not only have we had the conversation — we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” T.I. said very matter-of-factly, as if this is something normal all dads should be doing. “Yes, I go with her.”
But T.I. didn’t stop there. He even admitted to putting a sticky note on his daughter’s door after her 16th birthday party that read “Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.”
In fact, this overly-possessive father goes out of his way not only to manipulate his daughter’s doctor to update him on whether or not his daughter still has a hymen, but he also manipulates his daughter into allowing him to control her gyno appointments.
“So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talks, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” T.I. said. “He’s like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know?’ See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.”
T.I’s concern with his daughter’s hymen being intact clearly indicates his obsession with his daughter maintaining her virginity. So much so, that his daughter’s doctor has made a point to educate T.I. on the fact that the hymen can be broken in other ways outside of sexual penetration. The idea that the hymen — a membranous tissue found near the entrance of the vagina — is an accurate and reliable way to determine a woman’s virginity is nothing more than a myth. The reality is, not all virgins have hymens.
“And so then they come and say, ‘Well, I just want you to know that there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding, and just other forms of athletic physical activity,” he said. “So I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.”
He goes on to add, “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
One can’t help but wonder, is T.I. preventing his daughter from engaging in athletic physical activity in efforts to keep his daughter’s hymen intact? If so, there really are no words for how sickening that is.
T.I’s comments understandably sparked outrage on social media. Many took to Twitter to express their confusion and disgust with T.I.’s behavior.
So instead of celebrating the fact that his child lived another year, TI spends his time hyper-fixating on whether or not her hymen is intact? This is so overwhelmingly weird and toxic and he needs to be stopped
— ꧁𝒔𝒂𝒎꧂ (@szascoloredwig) November 6, 2019
But unfortunately, T.I.’s obsession with his daughter’s virginity is nothing we haven’t heard before. This is actually quite common in other parts of the world, where a woman’s virginity is still strongly tied to her value. In fact, what T.I. does actually has a name and it’s referred to as virginity testing.
In case you’re not familiar with it, virginity testing is an inspection of female genitalia designed to determine whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse. It is often referred to as hymen, “two-finger” testing because it involves a physician inserting two fingers into a woman’s vagina to check whether her hymen is still intact. Although T.I. pointed out himself, that an intact hymen isn’t necessarily a true indicator of virginity, in many parts of the world it is still considered to be. In fact, virginity testing is still very prevalent in countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia. Egypt, and South Africa and is often done to determine whether or not a woman is “eligible enough for marriage.” In certain cultures, a woman’s virginity is so significant that some women are literally murdered if they don’t have a hymen which is why some privately undergo hymen reconstruction surgeries to get back their hymen.
Virginity testing, whether it’s done in a country like Afghanistan or what T.I. is doing with his daughter, is a gross violation of a woman’s privacy and rights. This practice is not only humiliating, invasive, and traumatic but it’s also dangerous as it plays a role in continuing to oppress and control women. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to regard virginity testing as a form of sexual assault. The two-finger test alone is in many ways abusive, which is why in 2018 the United Nations called for an end to virginity tests. Last year 190 women AND girls in Afghanistan were arrested and held in jail for failing a virginity test.
The U.N. along with the World Health Organization, U.N. Women and U.N. Human Rights got together to call for the global ban of the practice on the premise that it is a violation of human rights and a form of gender discrimination.
What’s particularly upsetting about T.I. bragging about his daughter’s hymen being intact, is the fact that he isn’t placing these kinds of virginal and “purity” standards on his younger son. In fact, he has applauded his son for being sexually active.
The double standard is horrifying and speaks to the fact that there are obviously still men on this planet who subscribe to the idea that girls and women should remain virgins and that their value, worth, and ability to marry or find a decent male partner is tied to whether or not they maintain their virginity. This notion is incredibly harmful to women on a physical, mental, and emotional level. And unfortunately, T.I. is far from the only American man having his daughter’s virginity tested. Virginity tests still occur regularly, even in the United States.
T.I. might not have the same religious and cultural standards that some fathers in the middle east might have. He might not be trying to get his daughter married but he clearly is terrified of the idea of his daughter — despite being a grown woman — having ownership and control of her anatomy and sexuality. It all plays into that age-old, regressive mentality of “I ain’t raising no whore.” When in reality, controlling girls’ and women’s ‘bodies and sexuality and exposing them to virginity tests could very likely increase their chances of being abused domestically whether it’s sexually, physically, mentally, or emotionally. If T.I’s daughter is seeing that her father who loves her and has her best interest in mind has the “right” to make decisions regarding her body and sex life — an abusive move to say the least — who is to say she won’t endure that kind of invasive abuse from another male figure such as a potential partner or boyfriend? After all, virgin testing is violence against women, regardless of whether folks like T.I. want to admit to that or not.